Playwright and Star of ‘What the Constitution Means to Me’ on Abolishing the Constitution
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Playwright and Star of ‘What the Constitution Means to Me’ on Abolishing the Constitution


(applause) – Judges, our Constitution
is like the Horcrux in Harry Potter. (laughing) It is the piece of our
founding father’s souls that is still somehow still alive
ruling over the rest of us. Let me explain. – My show, What the
Constitution Means to Me is a recreation of a
contest I did as a teenager I would travel the country giving speeches about the
Constitution for prize money. – I would travel to big
cities like Denver and Fresno I would give a speech win
a whole bunch of money and then bring it back to put in my little safety deposit box for later. I was actually able to pay for my entire college education this way. (cheers and applause) Thank you. – And a few years ago I
decided that I wanted to make a play about this experience
I had as a teenage girl. It’s a very performative
style, it’s about storytelling, it’s about thinking on your feet, and I thought it would be fun to create a live performance event
in which some things were extemporaneous and
some things were planned. Yeah, so at the end of
the show I debate live, a real teenage girl. – Different branches of
government are overstepping their powers, voter
suppression is rampant, and nine people have
disproportionate power over our basic human rights.
And communities of color, women, LGBTQIA folks and
immigrants have their rights violated on a daily basis. Thank you. (cheers) – We have two champion
debaters on our show Thursday Williams and Rosdely Ciprian. We debate whether or not
to abolish the Constitution and start over. – This brings me to my final argument, if we abolish the Constitution
we risk sending the country into complete chaos. Our
country’s more divided then it has ever been, the
only thing holding us together as Americans right now, is
the faith in this document. We may choose, we may choose to interpret it differently but without it we risk complete collapse. – I listened to Griswold
versus Connecticut which is the case that made
birth control legal in 1965. The thing I noticed when
they were arguing this case is how uncomfortable they all were talking about women’s
bodies, talking about sex, talking about birth control. I started to realize that
most of the protections we are guaranteed as say, women or trans folks or people who are not white,
people of different abilities, are not specifically laid
out in the Constitution in any concrete way. – Judges, as a kid I
believed this document was a tool of justice. I knew it was created by slaveholders, by people who did not consider
most of us fully human. But I believed in its
genius and in it’s ability to transform over time. Today, however, I don’t
actually think its failing I think its working perfectly, I think its doing exactly
what it was designed to do from the beginning, which
is to protect the interests of a small number of rich, white, men. – And yeah, we do this
basically live every night and at the end of the show
the audience gets to vote whether to keep or abolish that the younger people should
get to decide our future. So, Thursday or Rosdely
depending on who is debating that night will get to choose the Judge from this row of young
people in the front. – I believe we need a brand
new, positive rights document that actively rectifies
the inequality at the heart of this country. I believe we need a document
that protects all of us. Because why? Why should
most of us be banished to the margins of the Constitution? Why should we be on page 30? On page 34? Or not even in this document
at all because we’re kids? We all belong in the Preamble. Thank you. (cheers and applause) – I feel like I want
people to leave the show feeling like they’ve taken a
real look at what our country actually is, what this
document actually is, and are hopefully excited about how we move forward from this moment. I will say, in addition to
that I swear it’s really funny. (laughs)

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